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Uganda Broadcasting Corporation

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Uganda Broadcasting Corporation
TypeTelevision (since 1963)
Radio (since 1953)
Founded8 October 1963; 60 years ago (8 October 1963)
by Government of Uganda
HeadquartersBroadcast House, 17/19 Nile Avenue, Kampala, Uganda
ParentUganda Ministry of Information and Communications Technology
Launch date
October 8, 1963 (1963-10-08)
Former names
Radio Uganda (1954-2006)
Uganda Television (UTV; 1963-2006)
Picture format
720p (HDTV)
AffiliatesMagic 1, Star TV, Bryan Morel Publications, U24 and Ugospel.
Official website

Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) is the public broadcaster network of Uganda. It was founded as a result of the "Uganda Broadcasting Corporation Act, 2004", which merged the operations of Uganda Television (UTV) and Radio Uganda. It started broadcasting on November 16, 2005.[1]

The Uganda Broadcasting Corporation Act stated that the UBC should be funded by the levying of a television licence fee. Collection of a licence fee set at USh 20,000/= (around 8.40 or US$10.80) started in 2005. However, collection was subsequently halted by President Yoweri Museveni. There has since been pressure to reinstate the licence fee to maintain UBC's independence.[2] UBC operates the UBC TV channel and five radio stations.[1]

Until May 2011, Edward Musinguzi was the managing director. He was fired along with all of the governing board for "massive corruption" involving unpaid salaries, the sale of land owned by the corporation, and advertisements sold during the 2010 World Cup.[1]


The broadcast studios and main offices of UBC are located at plot 17–19 Nile Avenue, Nakasero Hill, in Kampala, Uganda's capital and largest city. The geographic coordinates of Uganda Broadcasting Corporation headquarters are: 0°18'59.0"N, 32°35'21.0"E (Latitude:0.316389; Longitude:32.589167).[3]


Radio Uganda[edit]

The British colonial administration set up the Uganda Broadcasting Service in 1954. The primary goal was to support the colonial agenda of the then-current government. The station primarily broadcast news from the external service of the BBC and other programmes. UBS was also instrumental in silencing the pro-independence movement at the time. After independence, UBS was renamed Radio Uganda.[4] Up until the 1980s, both radio and television units were seen as government mouthpieces.[4]

Uganda Television[edit]

In 1963, a year after the independence of Uganda, Uganda Television service was set up. Much like the Uganda Broadcasting Service that came before, the station was built with European engineers. The station was initially housed at the Nakasero facilities, that were later demolished to make room for a Hilton hotel.[5] Bob Astles was appointed head of the outside broadcast unit in 1963,[6] a position he held until 1971 when Idi Amin took over the government. Amin wanted Astles to continue working for UTV, but was subsequently refused as Astles supported Obote and was subsequently jailed.[7]

Idi Amin's rule oversaw massive changes to Uganda Television, which was his first target. UTV was already a propaganda tool for the Obote government, something that was heavily retooled under the new leader. Network head Aggrey Awori was beaten up and fled to Kenya, his deputee James Bwogi took his place. He demanded to reform the broadcaster with the aim of introducing current affairs programmes reflective of his plan to make UTV a medium of discussion. Thanks to his reorganisation, UTV started housing opinions from "an increasing number of people", often showing opinions that never pleased Amin. Subsequently he was abducted and Amin reformulated UTV again. The main news lasted for one hour, in four languages, English, Swahili, French and Arabic, per a presidential decree, even though French and Arabic were never official languages in the country.[8]

Passage of the UBC Act and early years of the new corporation[edit]

The new UBC was formally launched on 19 April 2006 under the new corporate tagline "Bigger, Better".[9] The channel was also made available on the JumpTV platform shortly after, aiming at the diaspora.[10]


When he assumed office in 2016, Frank Tumwebaze, the Information and ICT Minister, established an ad-hoc committee to look into the affairs of the broadcaster. The ad-hoc committee found that UBC was in debt and had too many employees, whom it paid poorly and utilized them sub-optimally, among other infractions.[11]

A team was set up to address the short-comings. The pay-roll was reduced from 525 to 349 people. To weed out the 176 who need to be let go, all 525 members of staff were instructed to re-apply, if interested. Those who opt for retirement or early retirement would be provided with appropriate retirement packages.[11]

The changes, which were expected to take effect starting July 2018, were projected to reduce the wage bill from USh 4.5 billion (approximately US$1.25 million) annually to USh 3.5 billion (approximately US$955,000).[11]

In October 2018, the company hired Maurice Mugisha, formerly "Head of News Production" at NTV Uganda, to serve as its new Deputy Managing Director.[12]


The Uganda Broadcasting Corporation owns five radio stations, three of them general and two of them exclusively over FM (Star FM in Luganda and Magic FM which started in mid-2008). The three core networks were the Red network (North/West Nile, in English, Alur, Kakwa, Kinubi, Lugbara, Madi and Luo), the Blue network (Central/Southern, in Runyoro-Rutoro, Luganda, Rwamba, Rukonzo, Urufumbira and Ruruli) and the Butebo network (East/Northeast, in Lusoka, Nyakarimojong, Ateso, Kumam, Lumasaba, Lunyole-Lusamia, Lugwe, Adhola, Kupsabiny and Lugwere). These networks are grouped according to the primary languages spoken in their respective areas.[4]

UBC operates one television channel, UBC TV. As of the late 2000s, the channel's terrestrial network was received in 60% of the country, the widest coverage compared to its private competitors.[4]


  1. ^ a b c Olupot, Milton (21 May 2011). "Broadcasting Corporation Managing Director Sacked". New Vision via AllAfrica.com. Kampala. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  2. ^ Mufumba, Isaac (7 August 2006). "Uganda: Scribes Call for Reconsideration of TV Fees". Daily Monitor via AllAfrica.com. Kampala. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  3. ^ Google (24 April 2018). "Location of the Headquarters of Uganda Broadcasting Corporation" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d "On Air: Uganda" (PDF). Open Societies Foundation. 1 July 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 August 2019. Retrieved 20 December 2023.
  5. ^ "UBC's 50-year long journey". Monitor. 9 January 2021. Archived from the original on 20 December 2023. Retrieved 20 December 2023.
  6. ^ "Bob Astles". New Vision. 23 January 2013. Archived from the original on 20 December 2023. Retrieved 20 December 2023.
  7. ^ "Bob Astles – The years of terror with President Amin". Paul Vallely. 10 December 1985. Archived from the original on 12 March 2016. Retrieved 20 December 2023.
  8. ^ Kabeba, Don (1979). "Uganda: No Censors Needed". Index on Censorship. 8 (2): 18–21. doi:10.1080/03064227908532896. S2CID 143863530. Archived from the original on 3 June 2021. Retrieved 20 December 2023.
  9. ^ "Bigger, Better UBC". New Vision. 24 April 2006. Archived from the original on 19 December 2023. Retrieved 19 December 2023.
  10. ^ "Uganda: Diaspora to Watch UBC". AllAfrica. 24 April 2006. Archived from the original on 2 May 2006. Retrieved 19 December 2023.
  11. ^ a b c Misairi Thembo Kahiungu (24 April 2018). "350 jobs up for grabs as govt restructures UBC". Daily Monitor. Kampala. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  12. ^ Agencies (12 October 2018). "Revamp: Uganda National Broadcasting Television poaches NTV's Maurice Mugisha". Kampala: PML Daily. Retrieved 4 February 2019.

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